As part of the 16th Annual Conference of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Cities Initiative, held June 5-7 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, US and Canadian Mayors joined together in making an urgent call for action against Asian Carp. Mayors from the U.S. and Canada signed the “Mayors’ Declaration to Stop Asian Carp,” highlighting the need to act quickly and decisively.
“Since the first Asian Carp appeared, the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence Cities Initiative have taken this issue very seriously. These four fish species from Asia, called “Asian Carp”, were introduced to clean up ponds in the southern US. Unfortunately, spills and flooding allowed them to enter the Mississippi and other rivers, where they have made their way to the edge of the Great Lakes, threatening the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. “Humankind has created this problem and now humankind needs to take action to rectify the situation!” said Michelle Morin-Doyle, Chair of the GLSLCI Board of Directors and Deputy Mayor of Quebec City.
The situation is particularly worrying at the Brandon Road Dam near Joliet, Illinois. A real choke point in the waterways leading to Lake Michigan, its protection is vital for the entire basin. The GLSLCI was encouraged to hear of the recent signing of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ report recommending new Asian Carp prevention measures at Brandon Road Dam. This action paves the way for US Congress to invest in the project. The Cities Initiative, by signing the Mayors’ Declaration to Stop Asian Carp, supports this report and at the same time calls on US Congress to invest in Brandon Road in our fight against Asian Carp,” said Niagara Falls NY Mayor Paul Dyster.
Eating up to 40% of their weight in a single day, some Asian Carp can weight from 80-100 lbs. Reproducing at a frantic pace, they can quickly take control of an entire ecosystem. “Asian Carp are knocking on our door and we must, by all means at our disposal prevent them from destroying the Great Lakes and eventually the St. Lawrence,” said Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.
“The risk posed by Asian Carp is real, and the potential for damage is great, on both sides of the border. This is why we are asking, in the Declaration signed by our members, to double the efforts currently being made to combat Asian Carp,” concluded Mayor Canniff.
The Great Lakes and St.Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 80 US and Canadian Mayors and municipal leaders, representing over 17 million people, working to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence.